Good news, Portland: EcoCab is bringing a fleet of Tesla Model S taxis to town

EcoCab Tesla Model S
Portlanders? Portlandites? Portlandians? Whatever you call the natives of Oregon’s largest city, it looks like they’ll have a new way to get around town soon.

Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) reports that the Portland City Council has approved an application by EcoCab, a mostly electric taxi company, to operate within city limits. The verdict was unanimous in favor of EcoCab, who hopes to start off with a fleet of 15 vehicles in the Rose City soon.

Along with non-electric wheelchair-accessible vans, EcoCab offers taxi services in EVs like the Nissan Leaf, Chevy Volt, and the Tesla Model S. Not the insane, 691-horsepower P85D version, mind you, though a cab that can accomplish 0 to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds is quite appealing. Compared to a Prius or Ford Crown Victoria, though, even the base model Tesla is a significant upgrade.

According to Tesla’s website, Portland already has four superchargers set up that can replenish the Model S’ battery by half in about 20 minutes. More superchargers are planned to be built in the next couple years, which is reflected in EcoCab owner Ron Knori’s goal to have the Model S make up the bulk of his fleet. The company’s application will allow him to employ up to 51 vehicles eventually.

The current taxi situation in Portland is what some would call ‘not good.’ A study by ECONorthwest, referenced in the OPB article, says that there are only 7.5 taxis per 10,000 residents in PDX, a relatively small number compared to areas of similar size. The rate of successful scheduled pick-ups during peak hours was also an underwhelming 84 percent.

Another element affecting Portland’s taxi industry is the app-based transportation network Uber. Though it operated illegally in the city for some time, the service has been officially suspended until at least April 9th, when a newly-established committee will decide Uber’s fate.

Product Review

Chris is the virtual co-pilot phone-obsessives need in their car

Driving while using your phone is dangerous, and often illegal. Meet Chris, the digital assistant for your car that wants to help keep your hands off your phone, and your eyes on the road.
Cars

Tesla ends scheduled servicing because electric cars need less maintenance

Tesla will longer offer scheduled maintenance plans, switching to an "as needed" model. This reflects the fact that electric cars need less regular maintenance than gasoline or diesel cars.
Cars

Tesla revives its referral program with chances to win a Roadster

Tesla has revived its referral program that ended in February because of cost pressures. This time around the perks aren't quite as diverse, though it does offer regular chances to win a Roadster or Model Y.
Cars

Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi group uses Microsoft cloud platform for connected cars

The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance is launching a new cloud platform for its cars. Based on Microsoft Azure, the Alliance Intelligent Cloud will enable features like connected services and over-the-air updates.
Cars

Waymo boosts robo-taxi plans with new service center in Arizona

Waymo has announced plans for a facility in Phoenix, Arizona, that will help to service, maintain, and grow its fleet of autonomous Waymo One cars. The vehicles operate as part of the company's robo-taxi ridesharing service.
Cars

The 2020 Porsche Cayenne Coupe is an exercise in form-over-function design

Porsche expanded its lineup of SUVs with a swoopier evolution of the Cayenne named Cayenne Coupe. Don't let the name fool you: it still has four doors. It stands out with a fastback-like roofline that's lower than the Cayenne's.
Cars

Formula 1 is putting data in the driver’s seat, and not all racers are happy

After a single weekend of racing, a Formula 1 pit crew typically pulls around 2TB of data from the car. Everything, from tire pressure to the temperature of the track, is recorded and analyzed in the name of boosting performance -- and not…
Cars

Protect yourself and your ride with our favorite dash cams

Dashboard cameras can assist drivers in car accident claims, settle speeding ticket disputes, and even catch glimpses of incoming meteors, among other things. Here, we've compiled a list of the most noteworthy offerings available.
Cars

The go kart-like Mini Cooper will soon add zero emissions to its resume

Mini is in the final stages of developing an electric version of the Cooper. The 2020 Cooper SE will receive powertrain components from the BMW i3, including a 181-horsepower electric motor and battery technology.
Product Review

By adding features, tech, and all-wheel drive, Mazda puts the 3 in a class of one

Since its introduction in 2003, Mazda’s compact Mazda3 has been a mainstay of the brand’s driver-oriented strategy. Mazda now plans to move upmarket, and the all-new 2019 Mazda3 offers some clues about how that’s going to work.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robotic companions and computer-aided karaoke

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!
Cars

Tesla Model 3 vulnerability exposed at Pwn2Own; hackers take home the car

A Tesla Model 3 vulnerability was exposed at the Pwn2Own hacking competition. The hackers, who were able to display a message on the electric vehicle's internet browser, won $35,000 and took home the car.
Cars

Is this electric car startup the next Tesla, or will it go the way of Coda?

The electric car startup formerly known as EVelozcity has changed its name to Canoo. It also announced a lineup of four cars including a commuter-friendly model and a lifestyle-oriented car. Its first electric vehicles will begin to appear…
Cars

Ford’s born-again Bronco off-roader will soothe your 1990s nostalgia

Ford confirmed it will bring the Bronco back to American showrooms in 2020. We haven't seen the truck yet, but dealers who got a preview of it during a private event say it's a true off-roader aimed directly at the Jeep Wrangler.